, the new executive director of
, brought a message from his 5 million members when he met with President
at a small White House gathering for allies on February 18. “This is a moment to go big,” he said, citing daily conversations with MoveOn activists. “We understand that’s not going to be easy, but people are mobilized and willing to fight to make it happen. That’s really what I carried with me into that room,” he told The Nation, in his first interview since taking the helm of one of the country’s largest progressive organizations.
Ruben, who has organized for labor, trade and environmental groups, must take a network that has long battled bad ideas–impeaching
, invading Iraq, gutting Social Security–and adapt it to supporting and broadening the administration’s agenda. “We’re in this amazing position now where we get to fight for stuff,” he says. MoveOn’s four “core” policy areas, decided by members during December house meetings, are economic recovery, universal healthcare, climate change and ending the Iraq War. Ruben does not expect ending the war in Afghanistan, where Obama is deploying additional troops, to make the list. The “overwhelming priority” is still Iraq, he says; while his members are concerned about Afghanistan, they tend to “differ on what ought to be done about it.” ARI MELBER
BUSH ON TRIAL?
The question of how to hold
George W. Bush
and his associates accountable remains open. Proposals range from the establishment of a South African-style “truth commission” to Congressional inquiries to full-blown prosecutions. The call for prosecutions got a boost February 24 when many of the nation’s leading peace and social justice groups urged Attorney General
to “appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President
Richard B. Cheney
, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.”
Signing on to the request were the
Center for Constitutional Rights
National Lawyers Guild